The Fine Arts Camp is excited to introduce Kate Sullivan, who will teach creative writing at our high school session. Currently, she is Director of Creative Writing at The Episcopal Academy in Pennsylvania. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was named a Teaching/Writing Fellow, and where she studied under novelists Marilynne Robinson, Ethan Canin, and Elizabeth McCracken. Kate loves teaching writing as much as she loves writing itself, and she has taught classes in poetry and prose to undergraduates at the University of Iowa, high school students at The Taft School, and elementary school students in Blue Hill, Maine. In 2003, she was invited to teach a “writing boot camp” to the now famous “Freedom Writers” in Long Beach, California. She has also worked as an editor, a waitress, a referee, a travel coordinator, and a housecleaner. A former All-American lacrosse player, she grew up in New Hampshire but now lives in Narberth, Pennsylvania, where she is hard at work on a novel and a collection of short stories.
She will be teaching the following classes:
Experiments in Fiction
There is nothing that can’t happen in a story. A dog can prefer reggae to jazz, a girl can hold up a roof with her bare hands for fourteen days, a Bible salesman can steal a lady’s wooden leg. As writers, we want to surprise our readers with characters, places, and plots that seem new and magical. But surprising a reader isn’t enough. Any story can have a gorilla drop out of the ceiling, or a tattoo start talking. Our stories must also be convincing. We want to make our readers believe in the strange and varied worlds our stories create. In this class, students will learn to write wild, beautiful, amazing fiction that seems real and true. Through dozens and dozens of fun and experimental exercises, we’ll learn to write stories that’ll make readers think, “Whoa, I didn’t know that was going to happen, but of course it did!”
Experiments in Poetry
In this class, we’ll learn to write different kinds of poetry by studying some funny, beautiful, crazy, weird, inspiring, simple, and complex contemporary poems. We’ll read these poems again and again and then use them to inspire our own. We’ll walk around camp listening to sounds, paying attention to the different ways language works, and noticing images everywhere. We’ll read and write poem after poem until our heads are filled with favorite words and rhythms and sounds and lines.
Use the Muse
Where do good ideas come from? In this class, students will write poetry and prose inspired by art. What poem will you write while listening to a song played on the oboe? What story does a photograph tell? In this class students will turn everywhere for inspiration. We’ll write while listening to music, looking at paintings, studying photographs, and watching someone dance, and we’ll talk about the ways in which art, in all its disciplines, expresses something vital: a mood, a feeling, an image, a sound.